Thursday 28 April 2022

LISTEN: Rachel Sermanni - 'Aquarium Kisses'

How about some folk-y heaven for your midweek (ish) listening pleasure? Rachel Sermanni is back, and she's got an EP on the way, with some of her "silliest" songs to date. Cannot wait! For now, here is Aquarium Kisses, the first track from Every Swimming Pool Runs to the Sea, due June 16th. While the previous EP was written whilst pregnant, made up of four darker tracks which explored the anxieties of balancing motherhood with her career, the new EP is "the light to the previous EP's shadow." Let the new track wash over you... it's a stunner. 

Talking about the track, Rachel shares: "I woke from a dream where an old school friend had led me into a huge aquarium. More like a building with glass, water, and tropical fish for walls. In the glow, we kissed. It was a lovely, playful, sensual dream. This is where the song begins. As is obvious. Each verse that follows is an ode to a past lover. The reasons I loved them, little moments and memories. It has a nostalgic feeling for me which then comes to the present moment with the chorus words (written by Richard Walters) where I hold the hand of my now love. I believe that the chorus and the presence of another's hand in mind is more symbolic." 

Follow Rachel Sermanni - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 27 April 2022

WATCH: Tomberlin - 'sunstruck'

So you've just watched all of Heartstopper on Netflix too, yeah? As well as it being reaaaaally cute, the soundtrack is basically cool music and things set to a TV show. Baby Queen, Maggie Rogers, Matilda Mann, Smoothboi Ezra, Noah & The Whale... jeeeeeez. So good. As well as those, it features a track by Tomberlin - perfect timing, as she's got a new record (i don't know who needs to hear this...) on the way this week via Saddle Creek. Recent single sunstruck is lush - check it out below!

About the track, Sarah shares: "This is an aerial view love song that is also not a love song. It is more a love song to forced distance, time alone with yourself, letting go, searching for yourself and the healing that takes place when you make those things an active focus in your life. These things are choices, they don't just happen on their own. You can choose to practice them or you can choose stagnancy. This is a love song to the growth that often can take place if you choose to tend to your own life's garden." 

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Tuesday 26 April 2022

WATCH: Sunflower Thieves - 'Grown Out Of You'

Am I back? Maybe. Sort of. I had a week off work last week, went to York for a few days and tried to actually take some time away from the blog. I've been pretty slack with is all lately anyway, but it was nice to try my best to avoid it for a few days. I came back to an inbox overflowing with brilliant new music which I'm keen to share - firstly this gorgeous offering from Sunflower Thieves, who just shared their Someone To Be There For EP. 

They're an ethereal duo who create music that I think it's sort of impossible not to like... and this EP is a beautiful collection of tracks. New single Grown Out Of You is an all too relatable (almost painfully so) track which explores the feeling of returning home and seeing that your childhood friends have moved on with their lives, in a different direction to yourself, and being happy for them from a distance. I hear that. 

On the track, the duo add "you forget life goes on while you're away but when you come back expecting things to have remained, it's bittersweet but also easy to accept that things have changed and that you've grown apart from those you once knew so well."

Crossing my fingers to get to the London Memorial show to see Sunflower Thieves opening alongside Elanor Moss - they're touring the UK with Lewis Watson at the moment too (Oxford, Notts, Bristol, London and Birmingham this week.) 

Follow Sunflower Thieves - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 15 April 2022

ALBUM NEWS: Banji - 'Freshcakes'

The exciting album news just keeps on coming... this time it's Utrecht's Banji, with news of their record Freshcakes, due October 14th via [PIAS] Recordings. On first hearing their debut single, I wrote here "if it's a juicy ear-worm you're after, then look no further" and it's been a joy to get to know the band sonically with the run of singles that has followed over the past year or so. Can't wait for the record - and very much enjoying new single Cornflakes. 

On the track, vocalist Morris Brandt shares: "I'm prone to developing little addictions pretty easily. Just the tiny things that get me through my day. The overall subject turned out to dig a little deeper into my own habits - temptations, quick releases, and with that, carelessness. Always being on the lookout for a little bit more than what you already have. Enticement can lead you to concentrate on the wrong things, and make you forget that you always have a choice. Because, if these dependencies develop on a bigger scale, they can have a significant impact on the people around you, and cause you to put up a front. Hiding behind it for the sake of someone else. I was noodling around with these ideas, using metaphors and different voices to inhabit the lines in the song."

Talking on Freshcakes, Morris continues: "Banji's songwriting has always reflected my surroundings and environment. Big themes of this album are struggling with adulthood, self-worth and self-esteem, mental health and frustrations, addiction, and finding your own self-discipline and maturity over time. The lyrics that flowed out of me throughout the making of Freshcakes tend to be built around introverted thoughts, personal social situations, and subjects that I find difficult to dissect. Stressful feelings about mistakes made, expectations unfulfilled, and the guilt that surrounds that. At a young age I've learned to use music as an output for frustration and stress. The main thing that I wanted to do with this record was find a place for those feelings and letting them go, kind of like therapy in a way." 

Follow Banji - TwitterFacebook | Instagram.

Thursday 14 April 2022

LISTEN: BE GOOD - 'Crying in the Bathroom'

New BE GOOD, everybody!!!!! You all know by now just how much I adore these guys. They're back with their first new track for a while, Crying in the Bathroom. While I might be doing just that thinking about missing their Oxford gig with Cj Pandit and The Bobo next week for Divine Schism, I'm currently just likely to cry about how great they are. In their words, the new track is "a song about perspective shifts, unhealthy obsessions & callousness. First time we've used a banjo, unlikely to be the last." Slow bop. 

BE GOOD play London this Friday (15th) and Oxford next Tuesday (19th) - tickets for both here

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Wednesday 13 April 2022

WATCH: Maggie Rogers - 'That's Where I Am'

I looooove Maggie Rogers and I am so so so excited that she is back with new music!!!! It feels like a long time coming since Heard It In A Past Life (and SO much has happened since that record came out and brought so much joy and meaning to my life - my fave of 2019) and I am soooooo ready for new Maggie and to be enjoying those witchy feminist popstar vibes live. New track That's Where I Am is taken from her forthcoming record Surrender, due for release 29th July - cannot wait!! The official video (co-directed by Maggie, Michael Scanlon and Warren Fu is a love letter to Maggie's adopted hometown of NYC, and features some notable cameos... 

On the track, she shares: "That's Where I Am is a story I'd been carrying around for many years, the story of a love that had been with me and unfolding for a long time. A lot of the events that Surrender chronicles take place in New York City. In the stark solitude and distance of Covid, it was the backdrop for all my claustrophobic fantasies. The proximity and pleasure of just staring at strangers. The way a night could unfold. Events that interrupt your day instead of having to consciously and deliberately make each decision. I longed for someone to sweat on me. Spill their beer on my shoes. Be too tall for me to see at the concert. The city's music and attitude was a big source of inspiration for the record. For all these reasons, there was only ever one place we could shoot the video."

"I've always said that New York is the city that winks back. It's a main character. It's a friend, a lover, an enemy sometimes. In many ways, the music video is about that New York love story. And on those filming days, it felt like the city was on our side. We got our first taste of true New York spring. That feral downtown explosion when suddenly everyone's smoking on the sidewalks in short sleeves and drinking gin and tonics. The appearance of a few classic New York characters - David Byrne, The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser, and photographer Quil Lemons - made the daydream feel complete."  

View the Surrender album trailer here.

Follow Maggie Rogers - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 7 April 2022

WATCH: Wallice - '90s American Superstar'

New Wallice!! Yessssss. Fresh from touring the US with Still Woozy, she's back with new single 90s American Superstar, the title track from her forthcoming second EP, releasing via Dirty Hit on 6th May. Written and recorded with friends at Wallice's grandparents house in Southern Utah, the EP is "a hypothetical look into the celebrity life that lots of musicians and the LA entertainment industry crowd seeks. It's fun to think about, "what if I was famous?" and how fame can change people. Especially since I grew up in LA - I love it here, but it's a strange place and it can feel like everyone is just looking for their big break. To me, the EP plays with that perspective and the way people think about that dream."

The title track (which is brill) introduces us to the protagonist of the EP at the height of their fame... Wallice explains that it "is about a fictional relationship in which my partner is showing very LA 'dating a musician' type behaviour. It's kind of a part two to the saga from a track on my last EP called 'Hey Michael'. The chorus makes it sort of a breakup song, and the verses make it a diss track. The first verse has six 90s movie references, and looks inwards at a breakup and what I did wrong. The second verse is blaming the other person - so it's kind of a rollercoaster of emotions." 

Wallice is playing at Brighton's The Great Escape, with showcases at Glasgow and Dublin, and her first London headline show at The Lexington on May 17th. 

Follow Wallice - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 6 April 2022

WATCH: Novo Amor - 'State Lines' (Live from Antarctica)

You all know how much I love Novo Amor and it would feel remiss of me not to share this beautiful live performance video, recorded while Ali was on an Greenpeace expedition in Antarctica earlier this year. It's one of my favourite tracks of his, made all the more gorgeous as he performs against the Antarctic backdrop, with whales, penguins and seals the only audience members. 

As beautiful as the music is, however, the video has been shared to help raise awareness for ocean protection, and specifically a petition that Greenpeace are currently running. It's something that Ali has long been advocating for - his Birthplace video was my introduction to his music, and its environmental message was a big part of the reason that I fell so far in love with the project and stuck around to hear more. 

From Greenpeace...

We are urging world leaders to agree on a strong Global Ocean Treaty which will help to protect at least 30% of our oceans by 2030 through a network of marine sanctuaries. Nearly 5 million people globally have signed the petition to protect our oceans. Add your name now and help put the biggest conservation effort in human history into action. 

Sign the petition here

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ALBUM NEWS: Jemima Coulter - 'Grace After A Party'

It's shaping up to be a pretty great week (month?) for new music, if a little overwhelming... there's a new Maggie Rogers track in my inbox for starters (yep, I could cry) but today I'm ready to get excited over this gem (you're welcome) from Jemima Coulter. One half of Hailaker, and a collaborator of Novo Amor, S Carey and more, this is their first solo outing and I am thrilled!!! Debut single SST arrives alongside news of the album Grace After A Party, due via Hand In Hive on 29th July. You can pre-save/pre-order the record here.

SST sees Jemima telling the story of somebody who has a fever and, in their ill haze, joins the circus - introducing what is to be the basis of the record, the circus and the clown. They explain "the character I sing about in 'SST' leaves their old life with the clarity that the illness gave them, suddenly free from all of the reason that says that it's a stupid and dangerous idea."

"I wanted to capture the feeling of someone wandering unburdened by the expectations of traditional society and escaping to another kind of life and yet also only doing that because they're out of their mind - crazy enough to know what they really want. It's like the classic 'leaving home to achieve my dreams with nothin but a dime' storyline but I guess pointing out how unsafe that is in this financially-orientated world that doesn't give a f-ck about your dreams so you'd only really do it if you were ill." 

Follow Jemima Coulter - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.